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Diane Abbott ‘repeatedly suffers mindless racist and sexist abuse’

The shadow home secretary says the online attacks have got worse in recent years.

Diane Abbott has spoken of how she has been repeatedly labelled a “n*****” in a stream of racist and sexist abuse.

The shadow home secretary revealed the extent of the “mindless abuse” she has received as an MP through emails and social media, and said the online attacks had got worse in recent years.

Speaking during a Westminster Hall debate on the intimidation and abuse of candidates in elections, Ms Abbott said she had received rape and death threats, and had been described as an “ugly fat black bitch” and a “n*****”.

Ms Abbott told the debate: “We are talking about mindless abuse and in my case the mindless abuse has been characteristically racist and sexist.

“And just to outline I’ve had death threats, I’ve had people tweeting that I should be hung if ‘they could find a tree big enough to take the fat bitch’s weight’.

“There was an EDL affiliated Twitter account #BurnDianeAbbott, I’ve had rape threats, described as a pathetic, useless fat black, piece of shit, ugly fat black bitch and n*****.

“N***** over and over again.”

Ms Abbott said one of her members of staff said the “most surprising thing” about working for her was how often she “has to read the word n*****” in emails, on Twitter and Facebook.

The Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP said the abuse had got worse in recent years, and gets worse at election time, but said she did not put it “down to a particular election”.

She added: “I think the rise in the use of online has turbocharged abuse because 30 years ago, when I first became an MP, if you wanted to attack an MP you had to write a letter, usually in green ink, you had to put it in an envelope, you had to put a stamp on it and you had to walk to the post box.

“Now they press a button and you read vile abuse which 30 years ago people would have been frightened to even write down.”

She said the abuse was “much worse” for women but acknowledged that male politicians also suffered.

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